The days move by quick and without mercy. Everyday is filled with a new burden. I must find an apartment. I must finish up a school assignment. I must maintain the civility that has loosely woven itself into my relationship with lea. I must be at the bar and smile and be cordial. I must play my part in setting up marketing events for an album my company has out. I must watch a movie about Moroccan hip hop that I will be DJing the after party for. I must set up a new album we will be putting out in September. I must write and write more. I must keep a level head through all this. Through all these thoughts and shredded heart.
The other night lea came to the bar and everyone was drunk and so no one said anything awkward. I huddled far from the crowd not knowing what to say and curious on how this would play out. It was her first time there since we had broken up. She’d been nervous about going because that’s more my crowd than hers. She arrived soaked in courage and sass. Fresh from an evening with her gay friends who all night reminded her of how smart, sexy, and desirable she was. We hugged hello and I gave her a beer and slinked away nervous of what was to come.
No one looked at me strangely, they all knew the score and were playing it calmly. They smiled and called her over for an embrace. They told her they missed her and asked her where she’d been. She smiled shyly and muttered that she had been busy, understanding they were sparing her the discomfort of addressing what was really going on. Pretending they had no idea. Acting as if nothing had ever gone wrong and nothing ever would.
This was right before the rush. At about 1:30 am.
The rush itself was unexpected. All these young bodies in twos and threes. Girls and boys dressed to the nines. Ordering beers in a bottle or whiskeys and ginger ale. They were led by one of our bartenders —a new one who just started. A very attractive and mysterious girl named Kendra— who herself was fit into a tight black dress that didn’t quite reach the bottom of her thighs. Suddenly it was authentic: we were busy. We had a rush.
I scrambled around taking orders and pouring drinks. I made an extra effort to ensure no one was without a glass or bottle in his or her hand. I busied myself with the full extent of my duties. Anything to prevent me from engaging in conversation.
She sat at the corner of the bar, surrounded by people eager to get a piece of her. They laughed to loudly sometimes and I would glance over. Some one would bark for another drink and id get it without hesitation. The music was loud and the voices rose and merged into a confusing din of conversation. She eyed me but I ignored her.
The rush began to die down and she got ready to leave. She stumbled across the bar and waved to me to come over. I walked up to her and she asked if I would walk her out. I nodded. Outside the moon drowned out the street lamps and the kids on the block screeched with the warm excitement of early summer. We stood next to her vespa and she stared at me with slurring eyes. We both swayed in alcohol and heartache and the early morning wind. She reminded me again, that we were single. She asked if I understood that and I nodded. She asked if it was what I wanted and I nodded again. She looked at the keyhole on the scooter and I looked at the ground. She grabbed her keys and inserted them and I stepped back to let her pull out.
Well I guess I’ll see you at home, she said. I just nodded again. Then she pulled off and I watched as she left.
And this is the undercurrent of my busy days. The noose around my neck. This next month will be very long, I presume.